I suppose living in the city gives me an unfair advantage to those who live outside the city in terms of being able to walk everywhere, and for that I am grateful. I do not own a car and the T is $59 per month for a pass - so when I can spend less than that by walking everywhere, I'm in a good place.
But even my city friends wonder why I walk so much, and so far. In my heyday, I walked from Cleveland Circle to Harvard Square, over 4 miles, which baffled people. Then I walked 3 miles, from my current apartment to Harvard Square. People weren't much less baffled, but I was a little bummed that my commute was cut by one mile.
Now I work out as much as I can, about 4 days a week, and still walk the 2 miles to work, and try to walk the 2 miles home when I can. Its not very far, but I know people who live closer to their workplace and still do not walk.
Why do I walk?
1. I love being in the outside world. Just look at it. And no, friends. This does not count running. I do not run in the outside world. If I want a serious, butt blasting, sweat inducing workout, I go to my climate controlled gym where the Today Show or E! News can distract me for the 45 minutes I go double time on the elliptical. Yes, I walk for fitness as well, but that's the added bonus.
2. To avoid traffic. I could also walk to a bus stop and take a bus home... But has anyone seen rush hour traffic? A snail crosses the Mass Ave Bridge faster than the #1 bus during the hours of 5:00 to 7:00 PM.
Walking, I can control my pace. I can opt to walk on grass down Memorial Drive (which I hear burns 7% more calories - winning!) If I want to go straight home, I can, and am unencumbered by other peoples' stop requests (slow walkers notwithstanding). If I want to stop over on Newbury Street, Trader Joe's, or Whole Foods, I can. If I forget that I need to stop at one of those places, I can turn around as soon as I make that realization. I can walk fast against the cold, or slowly to soak in the scenery.
3. The scenery on my walks is much nicer than the T. I mean, seriously. Are you looking at the photos interspersed into this blog post? And its only going to get nicer. I get to walk along the river, then cross the river, then walk through the Brownstones of the Back Bay. Plus, one can people watch much more surreptitiously than on the T. On the T, staring is more obvious. As you walk past someone, you can look at them every so often, stealing glances here and there. You can even wear your shades (better for your eyes!) and blatantly star without anyone ever knowing.
Plus, how else would I see the grown man running in a lavender colored zippy up hoodie?
4. Walking makes me happy. It increases endorphines. Its a great way to decompress after work. Every so often, even if work hasn't been particularly stressful, a person needs that 40 minute time outside, moving around, connecting with their city. Sometimes I plug into my iPod, sometimes I just listen to the cars, the runners, the crazy shouting cab drivers.